Are Laptops Improving Learning?

Remarks on the one-to-one initiative


Ms. Pflaumer, newspaper advisor

Seniors in period one English class enjoying breakfast in the Green Wave Cafe while doing classwork on their one-to-one devices. Photo taken September 25, 2018. From left to right: Justin Maskell, Craig O’Connor, Ryan Doherty, Justin Murphy, Tommy Tashjian, Christian Lebossier, Michael Boyle, Tony Dao, and Bryson Andrews (back to).

Josh Flaherty, Contributor

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, students in grades 7-12 received laptops from the school during their advisory period.  They received a case and charging cord as well. On the school’s website it says that the Lenovo laptops distributed cost around $400, the case is $25, and the cord is $25. They were included in the new building project budget.

Pullquote Photo

I can see when assignments are due and when to study. It helps me to keep things straight

— Leo Mullen

Most students use their laptops almost every day.   Sometimes more than once.  So do teachers and students think the laptops benefit learning?  

When used correctly they are a huge benefit to the work environment. There are several reasons, such as having the ability to type essays, send and receive emails, and use the online classroom device Canvas, which teachers, students and parents can access through the school’s website

“I think it [Canvas] is good as a ways to find assignments,” said freshman Leo Mullen. And at least one teacher agreed. Having all my assignments in one place for the students to access at their convenience is extremely helpful. It takes care of any excuses about missing assignments,” said Mr. Moore, a history and law teacher at Abington High School. 

A second feature Mullen thought was helpful was the calendar. “I can see when assignments are due and when to study. It helps me to keep things straight,” said Mullen. Mr. Moore also thought it was a good tool. I like the calendar feature so students can see what’s coming, like tests, quizzes, projects, etc. 

What do you think about the one-to-one devices?

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Mullen said it was “easier to take tests and quizzes” online. He said he liked it because “it’s an all-in-one learning tool to find assignments, look something up, and type essays or projects.”  From the teacher’s perspective, it also keeps things streamlined. “It is a great tool to help with my curriculum planning, says Mr. Moore.

Not all aspects of the laptops are positive, however. When students use the laptops in class, some are playing games. “They have a good educational purpose, but people use them as a distraction or to not do any work,” said freshman Mullen.

Another problem is that students do not always have their laptops because they left them at home.  Or, they brought them, but their laptop is not charged. This has been an issue for me,” said Mr. Moore.  “When laptops are not charged, students have to move a desk near an outlet to charge it. 

Another flaw is that technology is not always on your side. Many students bring their laptops to the library to seek help or get their laptops fixed.  That can waste time that the student could be spending in class. 

On March 22 in morning advisory, students listened to the Weekly Announcement. The announcer, junior Andrew Lee, stated that the library will no longer be issuing loaner laptops to students that left their laptop at home. And a few weeks ago students were told that if they lost their charging cord they would need to pay for a replacement.

In conclusion, if used the right way and if the student is responsible, it seems that the laptops are a huge benefit to learning at Abington High School. What do you think?